Disney World is a captivating place where without a doubt you create memorable moments. The background music that welcomes you to Main Street and the friendly cast members throughout the parks make your visit magical. The unique musical shows, parades, fireworks and ride experiences keeps us wanting to go back to Disney over and over again! But lets be honest, Disney World can also be overwhelming! To start, there are long lines at the entrance to get inside the parks and then we need to deal with the long wait times for rides. Also, walking in the sweltering heat (and sometimes in the rain) from one place to another, through the crowds of people, is tiring. But, after going this summer, I can attest that it’s all worth it!
Living with a chronic illness like Scleroderma challenges me daily when I step outside. To think of a trip to Disney felt quite unreal. As a Disney fanatic, I had done trips to Disney World prior to getting very ill, so I had a vivid memory of how chaotic it gets but also how much fun it is. I wanted my son to create these magical memories, too.
After a lot of research and contacting the disability services at Disney, I felt comfortable enough to visit the happiest place on earth and so I booked my trip. I was surprised to find out the protocols Disney parks had in place for people with non-apparent disabilities. This information isn’t shared as much as it should be and it meant so much to me when I made a decision. I felt it was my duty to share this valuable information I have learned and used.
Planning a trip isn’t easy when you need to consider time for medication, resting periods, and plan for the unknown (this past August, we were caught in hurricane Dorian’s path and needed to rush out of the area before our vacation ended). But it does feel good to know that you are welcomed and they make an effort to make you as comfortable as possible.
DISNEY PARKS DISABILITY ACCESS SERVICE CARD
The DAS card was extremely useful and I would recommend anyone with a chronic illness to use one. It helped me avoid lines to the rides of my choice (only for rides that had fast pass privileges). When I presented the card at the ride entrance, a crew member provided me with a return time. While I waited for my return time, I found a bench with a shade and took a break. I have chronic fatigue and interstitial lung disease so this card was on point with my needs. The DAS card allowed me to ride and create memories with my family at my pace.
The DAS card is available at the Guest Relations in every park. You will have the opportunity to discuss your medical challenges with a member of guest relations.
I also used the fast pass (the ones that come with your purchased ticket) in addition to your DAS card. This allowed to reserve a return time for other rides was able to get return dates through the app.
FIRST AID CENTER
The first aid center at Disney World was probably what convinced me of stepping out of my comfort zone and visit the Disney parks. I have to say, I was very lucky on this trip that I didn’t need to visit the center but I was comfortable knowing it was available if I needed it. But, I was so grateful to know that there was a nurse available on site. The center can hold your medical equipment, health supplies and refrigerate your medication if needed. There are cots available if you need to lay down or rest. You can also monitor your blood pressure as well as take your treatment in semi-private areas. There isn’t too much information on their website about the first aid services that’s available. I learned this information after my phone call with Disney disability services. It’s quite help to know you can stop by for a free bandaids, over- the-counter medication like Tylenol and ice.
ELECTRIC CONVEYANCE VEHICLE (EVC) RENTALS
Electric conveyance vehicles are available for rental.
SHADE AND RESTING STOPS
There is seating and shade throughout all the parks with the exception of the Star Wars: Galaxy Edge in Hollywood Studios. I went to Galaxy Edge on the opening day and there was definitely no seating with shade in the vicinity of the entrance. Per Disney, they have added more seating since August. Otherwise, seating and shade was no problem throughout the parks
My son and I had a magical time. I am hope that my experience to Disney World helps others feel comfortable when making a trip to Disney World.